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Introduction: Timely empirical evidence is important in the success of health systems, and such evidence is necessary for informed policy making to address inequity in the health workforce. Literature is ripe with incentives that affect recruitment and retention of physicians in rural and remote areas, but such data in still lacking in the Philippine setting. Discrete choice experiment is one methodology utilized by the World Health Organization which provides both qualitative and quantitative information to aid policy makers in health human resource management.
Methods: The study utilized a discrete choice experiment involving three phases: 1) identification of incentives and levels using key informant interviews and focus group discussions, 2) selection of scenarios utilizing an experimental design, and 3) administration of survey based on WHO guidelines. Conditional logistic regression, point estimates, and correlational analyses were done using Stata.
Results: There is significant association between type of background and considerations for rural practice among the respondents based on Pearson’s correlation (p < 0.01). The respondents put more value into non-wage rural job posting incentives than small to modest base salary increases. The high willingness to pay for the presence of supervision, relative location of work areas from families, and status of workplace infrastructure/equipment or supplies suggest the importance of workplace conditions to attract rural health physicians. Combinations of wage and non-wage incentives may be necessary to provide for the most cost-efficient increases in rural job post uptake rates based on post-estimate calculations.
Conclusion: Philippine medical interns and young doctors value non-wage incentives in considering rural health job postings. Rural health job postings with these incentives are predicted to significantly increase recruitment in rural health job posts, particularly when combinations of wage and high-impact non-wage incentives are considered.
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